Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Subversive handouts for the too-short introductory class

I love this idea... I've been observing the material reference librarians at work use in their info skills classes, and have been aware that there are many tools, tricks or skills that students might enjoy learning over time that can't all be presented in introductory classes. Such a neat way to trigger curiosity.
Since then I've used the "Here's what we learned today... Here's what you can ask me about any time... Here's how you can get help..." handout in many, many classes. And while they're useful for lots of kinds of classes, they're particularly good for two kinds of sessions: those like the one I described above, and those where the professors know full well that the primary goal of a short session is to introduce their students to me so that the students will be more likely to come see me with their research conundrums later. And my original experience of having professors and students alike ask questions from the handout while still in class has held true of almost every session for which I've created one of these. (Here's an example of one I created for a class I taught earlier this week.)
 blog it

Monday, September 22, 2008

When a player guides...

I've been thinking lately about how I have been introducing friends and colleagues to the web2.0 tools that have given me so much fun learning.

Coincidentally, today I noticed Helene Blowers' presentation From Players to Guides and took a look to see whether her advice matches my style.

After reflecting on the importance of playing for learning, Helene turns to becoming a guide, which she identifies as "a person who exhibits and explains points of interest" (Blowers, 40/67). Helene advises becoming a Discovery Guide, orienting on learning rather than training and focusing on FUN. Learning in which exposure is the first step and where learners have as much to share as guides.

There are two slides that remind me of training and collaborative volunteering with the Australian Breastfeeding Association, and that I believe will be tumbling in the back of my mind while I continue holidaying:

Slide 57 From Players to Guides by Helene Blowers

Slide 58 From Players to Guides by Helene Blowers

and keeping in mind the daily dozen who visit this blog from searches for guidance on referencing citations of blogs or online videos in APA style, here is a guess at referencing a citation of a presentation stored at Slideshare in APA style:

Blowers, H. (2008). From players to guides: Learning Strategies for a 2.0 World. [Presentation]. Retrieved September 22, 2008 from Slideshare website http://www.slideshare.net/hblowers/from-players-to-guides-presentation

Sunday, September 21, 2008

EBLIP latest

Just briefly (after all I am on holiday): I've been perusing the latest issue of Evidence Based Library and Information Practice (EBLIP). First I enjoyed Marcus A. Banks' final theory in Friendly Skepticism about Evidence Based Library and Information Practice that differences in decision-leading preference, or tendency to wait for evidence versus willingness to play or experiment, stem from hard-wired personalities (ie Myers-Briggs S .v. N: data-driven .v. intuitive) and that both have value.

However I was triggered to blog by a quote in the letter to editor by Judith Siess Commentary on a Library Non-Use Study upon which Siess applauded the concluding statements (of the study: Non-Use of Library Services by students in a UK Academic Library, by Lisa Toner in EBLIP 3:2, 2008) for recognising the value of further evaluation, which followed after Siess' surprising evaluation of 14% as a 'quite acceptable' response rate. I'll have to read the study she was commenting on to check the nature of the data it studied, but I'm guessing that a major gap was missing in the study: Patron NEED. From the commentary it appears that the study examined only why people don't use the library, not whether their perceptions & decisions impacted positively or negatively on their outcomes. I wonder: if students do not use the library and succeed quite happily in their studies, do they really NEED the library?

That wondering was triggered because the commentary earlier mentioned that the study showed that non-users not only didn't use the traditional (?physical) library, but didn't use its electronic resources but most did use the Internet; later mentioned that some 4% of respondents expressed a lack of need for libraries; finally highlighted that the studying library concluded with deciding to increase marketing, publicity and promotion; all without telling me if the study examined whether patrons who don't use the library actually DO need it (or not). Surely data related to that part of the equation is relevant? That is: what are the outcomes for students who don't use the library? Is it significantly different from those who do? If it isn't, then I'm guessing we have some really interesting questions to investigate and answer.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

My (partial) pledge to not suck at the internet

I've had this pinned since ADHD Librarian made the pledge he linked as being in full at Modern & Awkward.

I, moonflowerdragon, pledge that:
I will never comment on a blog saying "Why do we care?" because if I don't care, I can go away from the blog. Instead I will sit back and have a good five-minute think about my life.

I will not sign up to Twitter or a blog just to write "I am getting my hair done" or other inanities [me: didn't sign up to do it doesn't mean you won't find me doing it if I'm having desperate month]. Every message I write will [endeavour to] be entertaining and/or informative; e.g. "Getting a beehive hairdo so I won't fit under the parking garage clearance pole" or "I am on fire, please assist me." (Note: The latter is appropriate only if my hair is, in reality, on fire.)


I will only add up to one application per month on Facebook. This application will not be a zombie maker, werewolf maker, "top friends" maker, or anything that serves no purpose and is not, again, entertaining and/or informative.

[I will not trick people into seeing any images that they might find disturbing, because that's not funny and it never will be funny]

I will not add a signature to my forum posts that is more than half the length of my average post. I will definitely not put ASCII art in my signature, because I recognize that 1993 is over and the Internet has pictures.


I will never leave a comment expressing adulation or criticism in three or fewer words, unless I am doing so in an altogether unique way. "FAIL" is not a unique way. Neither is "LOLzers."


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